The Magnolia barn was conceived of as a cluster of vernacular farm buildings spread across a gently sloping two-and-a-half acre site. Planted with nearly 70 protected trees, the landscape transitions from a lower area flanked by sycamores, to an open pad above (where we would ultimately choose to site the house), to a vertiginous upper slope heavily densely populated with mature oaks.
The main house is treated as two barns, later tied together with a soaring gambrel roof. The cavernous space below serves as a formal dining area and living room, and helps to organize the expansive program across the home's three levels. Spanned by a delicate bridge, the living space features 18' high doors which can be easily hand-cranked open, thanks to an ingenious and beautiful mechanism reminiscent of antique farm machinery of long forgotten purpose. To one side, a metal clad silo accommodates a wrought iron and glass spiral stair, which leads from an office 'eyrie' at the top floor to a wine tasting room and cellar below grade.
Few old barns stand alone in the landscape, and the scene here is completed by a host of complementary elements. Variously standing alone or arranged in their own tight compositions, stand a garage, gym, guest house, pool cabana and office. The organization naturally creates loosely intertwined outdoor zones; there is a place for picnics, another to screen films outdoors, a private swimming pool, soccer pitch, and, on the mostly level lower portion of the site, a small pond stocked with fish and ducks.